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The Transplantion Of Modern Science To Japan

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the entry of modern science (that most excellent product of the modern West) into a non-Western country (Japan) for the first time. In astronomy the influx of the new Western paradigm did not spell destruction of the old. Data generated by the new were simply incorporated into the old framework. Traditional astronomy was Chinese-style astronomy for calendrical calculations. Western astronomy had arrived in China with the Jesuits. In medicine, Chinese and Western paradigms coexisted peacefully, for there was little overlap in their areas of strength and hence, little room for competition. In mathematics, Japanese and Western paradigms were self-contained systems, mutually exclusive in structure and constitution. The Opium War in the 1840s between the Chinese and the Western colonialists had created concern among the cognoscenti of the samurai class. In Europe, in the eighteenth century, science and technology were distinct activities with different social origins.

Keywords: astronomy; modern science; Opium War; samurai class; Western paradigm



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